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Fair Trade Roses and Healthy Breasts

10/01/2009 - 3:43 PM
rlee-on-boardwalk1By now, you all know that it's Fair Trade Month. It's also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, something that's very near and dear to my heart. There is a history of breast cancer among the women of my family. Ten years ago my mother was diagnosed. Cancer was detected early enough for her to receive treatment, get surgery, take medication, and recover. She is now well into her 60’s and still walking her two greyhound dogs morning and night in all kinds of weather. Two years ago I turned 35 and asked my doctor to refer me for a mammogram, considering my genetic risk. I spent an hour with a nurse at a breast health center.  She went over diet and exercise choices and trained me to do self-exams. I was thoroughly empowered to take care of my self. Two generations of women in my family have received excellent medical care helping to dramatically reduce our risk of cancer fatality. If only every woman had access to this precious resource. yellow-roses-factoryFair Trade Certified flowers are helping to ensure that they do. Most flowers we buy in the U.S. are imported from developing nations far away, on farms where the majority of workers are women. TransFair USA introduced Fair Trade Certified roses to the U.S. market last year and sales have already translated into powerful changes for women farmers worldwide. Marcela Cholango, a worker at Joygardens flower farm in Ecuador, had never had a mammogram or breast exam. Very few women on non-Fair Trade flower farms obtain preventative medical examinations because they are too expensive. In 2008, the workers’ committee at Joygardens decided to start a project financed with Fair Trade premium money to prevent breast cancer in workers and their families. They contacted a hospital in Quito and sent 43 female workers and workers’ relatives to take the exams. Speaking of the program, Maria said, “The attention at the hospital was excellent. I’m glad I took the exams. They found a small cyst in my breast and now I know I can get treatment for it. I recommend that all women workers take part in this project from now on.” Join us as we celebrate the health of women farm workers in the global Fair Trade system, for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Fair Trade Month.
10/01/2009 - 3:43 PM
10/01/2009 - 3:43 PM